(KYTX) - National Adoption Day in Smith County took on a new look this year. With more families than ever involved, the adoption ceremonies were moved from the Courthouse to Rose Heights Church in Tyler.
"There's been a tremendous growth and I guess I can only attribute it to the fact that there are more kids that need loving homes and thankfully East Texans have stepped up to open their hearts and homes to add more members to their family," said Bryan Campbell, President of the Smith County Young Lawyers Association.
Standing before Judge Carole Clark, Laci and Luke Yarbrough felt lead to help a child. "We really started the process fostering and fell in love with Lyza and the Lord changed our plan," said Laci.
Luke adds, "From the moment we met her, she has to be with us. She was bonded with our kids and it was just a no-brainer."
With two biological children already, the Yarbrough family would double much quicker than they expected. "The day we found out we were able to adopt Lyza, we'd had her almost a year, we also found out that day that we were pregnant. Two blessings in one day," explained Laci.
Adoption was also on the heart of Andrea Dearing, a single mom with a 9-year old biological son named Nathan. "I felt that we had room in our home for another child and we had room in our hearts to add on to our family."
The first foster child in their home was two-year-old Candance. They knew if she came up for adoption, they couldn't let her go. "I liked her at first, then I started loving her," said Nathan about his new little sister.
"When she came into our family we just seemed bonded. Within a month she was calling me Momma. I just grew really attached," said Andrea.
One of the last families to go before Judge Clark was Allison and Andy. They added 21-month-old Dottie to their family making a total of five children.
"Well she's cute and I love her," said 8-year-old Catcher about his new sister. His 5-year-old brother Jesse adds, "I usually kiss her a lot and I hug her and sometimes I say good-night to her when she goes to sleep."
Dottie is this couples third adoption of a special needs child. Andy said, "I felt like God told us, 'You are going to adopt some children.' That we were going to take care of some kids that others wouldn't understand why, but that we were going to do it and that He was going to take care of us and He has."
As the ceremonies came to an end, fourteen families had grown in size and sixteen children had found their forever family.
For more on Smith County's National Adoption Day, join Gillian Sheridan for her Children are a Gift report, Tuesday night on CBS 19 ten @ 10. You can also find information on CBS19.tv. To inquire about an East Texas child waiting to be adopted call 903-533-4109.